Must We Be Baptized To Be Saved?
The will of the Father also includes our being baptized for the forgiveness of our sins, so that we can be saved and go to heaven. In Mark 16:16 Jesus says, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned." Who shall be saved? "He who believes and is baptized." This is such a simple command to obey in the way the Lord says to do it. Notice the divine order: 1) Believe + 2) Baptism = 3) Saved. Jesus placed both belief and baptism before salvation. But men, at the prompting of Satan, are trying to tell us many other different things that are contrary to what Jesus says. Men have taken what the Lord said, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved," and have changed it in every way possible to suit themselves. The following is what Jesus says and also ways in which man has tried to change what the Lord has said.
Who are you following? Are you following 1) Jesus, 2) the Universalist, 3) the Atheist, 4) those promoting infant baptism, or 5) those promoting faith only? We can go to heaven only by following what Jesus says and not what man says. The following chart shows what the Lord has said and also the many ways that men have tried to change it. They have changed it every way possible to suit themselves.
1) Jesus in Mark 16:16 says: Believe + Baptized = Saved
2) Universalist says: Not Believe + Not Baptized = Saved
3) Atheist says: Believe + Baptized = Not Saved
4) Infant Baptism says: Not Believe + Baptized = Saved
5) Faith Only says: Believe + Not Baptized =
Our Lord said in Mark 16:16, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." But there are those who want to ignore what Jesus said in the first half of the verse and only look at the latter half. They do this in an attempt to try to manufacture a loophole in what the Lord has said. They are not willing to accept that Jesus says we must believe and be baptized to be saved. After the Lord has suffered and died for us they are still rejecting what the Lord has commanded us to do. Jesus could not make it any clearer what one has to do to be saved. In Mark 16:16 we only have two choices: either we obey or we do not obey.
When we refuse to obey the first part of what Jesus says in Mark 16:16 then the second part of the verse applies to us, "he who does not believe will be condemned." A lack of belief is enough to condemn a person and damn his soul. A person who does not believe does not have to be told he/she will be condemned without baptism because they are already condemned because of a lack of faith.
In the later half of the verse Jesus says "but he who does not believe will be condemned." But there are those who say that Jesus did not say you would be condemned if you were not baptized. People who say this are grasping at straws in trying to avoid what the Lord who is our only Saviour requires. But people are doing this to their own eternal destruction. A person who does not believe Jesus will certainly not be baptized. One who does not believe could go through the motions and get dunked under the water, but he would not be scripturally baptized. He would only get wet. Since one who does not believe could not be scripturally baptized, it would have been useless for the Lord to have mentioned baptism in the latter half of the verse. People may argue against the Lord's requirement of being baptized in order to be saved, but they will not be able to argue with the Lord when they stand before Him on the Day of Judgment. It will be too late then.
The sad thing is that there are many people who try to use "the thief on the cross" as their justification for not obeying the clear and plain command of Jesus to be baptized. On the Day of Judgment it will not be the case of "what about the thief on the cross". The thief on the cross was before the death of Christ and before the New Testament took effect. The Old Testament was still in effect then. We are now under the New Testament. Anyone refusing to obey Jesus on His terms has no legitimate claim on the salvation Jesus offers. They will certainly be held accountable for their disobedience by the eternal loss of their souls. Either we obey what Jesus says or we will go to Hell. If we go to Hell, we will only have ourselves to blame.
People need to stop spending their time in trying to figure out a way to get around doing what the Lord said, but rather they need be willing to submit to the final authority of our Lord. When we stand before the Lord on the day of judgment to be judged by Him, there are going to be many who have chosen not to do what the Lord has said. Rather they have chosen to do what man has said to do. Romans 10:3 tells us that people are "Seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God." The choice is ours. Either we have tried to establish our own righteousness or we have submitted to the righteousness of God. Unless we are forgiven the way that Jesus Christ has specified in the Bible then we will die in our sins and be forever lost and forever separated from God in eternal punishment. We make the decision; but we will reap the eternal consequences. Are you ready for those consequences?
The Lord says in John 12:48, "The word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day." We are not going to be judged by what man says or by what we think, but by what our Lord says. This is going to be the standard for our judgment.
For the majority of people, the judgment will be a horrible day, and a day of many terrible surprises. Obedience to our Lord will save any lost person, no matter how evil his past has been, but obedience to a mere human doctrine will not save anyone, no matter how good they have been. It will only cause them to be lost. Speaking of Christ, Hebrews 5:9 says, "And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey Him." Yes, we must obey our Lord, if we expect Him to save us.
Baptism is not a work of merit that man does. We do nothing for God when we are baptized, except obey Him; but God does something for us. Baptism is God's chosen way of imparting His saving grace. Baptism is the submission to the command of God that saves. As we read in Acts 10:48, "And He commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord." God offers salvation to all men, but He conditions that offer with obeying the requirements which He has set out in His word. The Lord has commanded us to be baptized. The Lord has no nonessential commands. In Hebrews 5:9 we saw that no man can be saved by the grace of God without being obedient to the will of God.
Believing and being baptized to be saved, as Mark 16:16 says, does not nullify the grace of God, but it activates it. The fact that baptism is essential to our salvation in no way reflects upon the wonderful grace offered to all; but rather it honors Christ who commanded it. Baptism is a very serious matter. According to the Bible, baptism is for the purpose of our salvation.
In the Garden of Eden, God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God said in Genesis 2:17, "For in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." But later in Genesis 3:4 Satan told Eve, "You will not surely die." Satan just added the one word "not" and perverted what God had said. This is what men are doing today. Jesus said in Mark 16:16, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved." Men today erroneously teach "He that believes and is not baptized shall be saved." By adding the word "not" men today are perverting the word of God just as Satan did. Notice that the Lord clearly states that baptism precedes being saved, and all of the theological quibbling in the world will not change that order.
Satan does not want anyone to be baptized for the purpose of being saved. Satan tells people that after you think you are saved and your sins are forgiven then you can be baptized. But this is a lie of Satan which will cause many people to be lost. But Jesus promised salvation only to those who believe and are baptized. We cannot afford to be wrong on this vital point. Our eternal destiny depends on our being right with God.
Questions Lesson 13
Must We Be Baptized To Be Saved?
1) (Mark 16:16) According to the Bible what must we do to be saved?